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Big Data Puts Linux Talent in Hot Demand (wsj.com)
69 points by aynlaplant 1523 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite

GNU/Linux is also really great platform for programming. Things feel right, work right, and there are nice tools everywhere. I grew up in win32 land, and this really gave me some warped ideas about the world. But after about a decade or so of Linux programming, I'm finally feeling level-headed, as though switching to the Linux world were an intense psychotherapy. The 'hot demand' for 'Linux talent' might as well be motivated by HR requirements for a sane workplace.

Agreed, I spend a large portion of my day in the Windows environment. It's a nice change when I get to work in a Linux environment. With that being said, Windows as a non .NET developer platform has come a long way.

I rarely have any issues finding Python libraries that don't work on Windows. PHP Development has become much easier on Windows that it has been in the past. One of my personal glaring exceptions is having a working memcached extension for PHP on Windows.

I will say, though, that OSS on Windows has really come a very long way in the last ten years. I use a normal OSS toolchain (Mingw32 and Strawberry Perl) end-to-end now, and that wasn't always possible.

The key word here is "professionals" because, let's face it, there folks that can look up an error code or warning and maybe Google around for a configuration setting or two are dime a dozen. Read: Actual experts. In every sense of the word.

How many people do you know that actually know how to administer a system? And I do mean administer, not throw on/off a few switches in a conf file and hope it all works. I've lost count of how many times I've seen questions on forums on how to get two or more pieces of technology to talk to each other well enough. Sometimes well enough, isn't well... enough. Especially when real money is involved.

"I work with x and I need it to work with y and give me z amount of throughput" can be very complicated. Especially when the wiring is only sort of familiar to the user from a previous encounter doing some home tinkering.

I work at a pretty successful SaaS start-up in the valley and one of my responsibility is to hire system engineers. It's been one of the most challenging positions I ever had to fill. We see many developers using Linux nowadays - which is an improvement I guess, but there's a big difference between building your little rail apps on your local Ubuntu instance and setting-up/managing/scaling/troubleshooting Linux based ecosystems of applications & servers.

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One issue is training and test environment. Easy to set up a VPS and play with it, but the larger system you probably have to learn on the job, as apprentice. What skills/resources do you suggest to improve for "my app runs on linux" developer - towards "I know linux" in the level you seek for?

This is a genuinely interesting question. I can manage my own linux server well enough but I could not in a million years scale a larger system.

'I know linux' is different than 'I know how to scale on a linux stack'.

Many engineers who build native apps on Linux can claim 'i know linux'. Native is an important distinction, as many good java developers for example have no clue what is going on down the stack.

For the 'I know how to scale on linux stack', I'd think the fastest way would be for you to look into a (1) system imager (e.g. kickstart) and a (2) configuration management system (e.g. puppet or chef). This will bring you scale and management. Throw in a (3) monitoring/alerting system (e.g. nagios and cacti). Finally, put your coding skills to work by building a small app that glues all the above together.

One of the tough things is that Red Hat and SUSE really mangled their desktop story. Ubuntu has really captured mindshare in the development space.

In the RH world, you do have the certification path, and a supply of good SAs who have worked in professional, systems-focused capacities. Most of the old Unix guys who are still around doing SA work have certs on the RH stack.

On the Ubuntu side, many of the people I see who claim "Ubuntu" subject matter expertise are basically Mac users who have more comfort working in the shell. That's a testament to the improvements in the Linux ecosystem from a desktop POV, but not so good if you are trying to hire people! Obviously, the wizards are out there, but they are hard to find.

It's not only the ability to administer a single system, but high-performance systems/clusters. This is also a very different skill set than just knowing how to setup and run a single system. All of the sudden you have to worry about how systems interact, how to maintain them, and how to get the most performance out of the cluster that you can. All while balancing heat, power, and cost. These get real hairy real fast.

Is this worth pursuing? I've been doing half-assed sysadmin for over a decade, and maybe something organized would be useful.

It's well respected afaik. The LPIC-3 stuff is brutal, if you get it some top companies would hire you on the spot. I guess even with LPIC-1 you don't have to search long.

The best thing is, it gives you the incentive to get a more well rounded skillset and understanding.

I would do it, if you did it half assed there are some training books for LPIC-1 I would start with. Stuff like that is easily tax deductible, or maybe your employer would pay for it and it's not that much.

PS: I wanted to do it, but then got more into programming. Still very helpful the stuff I learned back then.

It really isn't that expensive, is it? Hmm...

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